Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler struck out twice on Tuesday night, but umpire Jerry Meals gets credit for the first one.
The Minnesota Twins lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Tuesday night, leaving nine guys on base as they pieced together a bullpen game on the mound. Outfield Max Kepler went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Kepler came up in the top of the sixth inning with men on first and second and nobody out against Brewers reliever Eric Yardley. Yardley throws from basically a 3/4 arm angle, obviously not over the top but not Dan Quisenberry sidearm. That can make it hard for hitters to pick the ball up, which is of course the point.
Jerry Meals didn’t do Max Kepler any favors
The strike zone box on television is not perfect, but it does generally give a good indication of pitch location to go with the velocity. It appears Yardley had home plate umpire Jerry Meals fooled on Tuesday night, or maybe he had a dinner reservation to make somewhere in Milwaukee.
In a span of four pitches, Kepler looked at three pitches outside the strike zone (outside the box depicting it least) that Meals did not hesitate to call strikes. Kepler clearly said something as he walked away after strike three. Even with the caveat it was the Twins’ broadcast, the best analysis and comments came from Fox Sports North analyst Jack Morris around play-by play man Dick Bremer’s defeated-sounding calls of each pitch.
On the 1-0 pitch: “Geez, Jerry.”
On the 2-2 pitch, after Bremer gave a resigned, “Oh” on the strike three call: “Geez.”
Morris is a former pitcher, with old-school thoughts on the evolution of today’s game ever-present in his commentary for better or worse. He has to broadly appreciate a generous strike zone though, regardless of the team he’s calling a game for.
Morris won’t be someone to openly call for an electronic strike zone/robot home plate umpires. But he seemed to stop just shy of it as Meals blew threw calls and struck out Kepler for Yardley.